13/01/2013

The strangeness of Ilum a year later

It seems to me that Ilum has acquired a sort of infamy in general MMO circles as a buzzword for how not to do world PvP. It's kind of strange to me personally as someone who completely missed all the drama shortly after launch, seeing how I was was still busy levelling my first character when all the troubles with lag fests and exploits went down. The Ilum I know is just... different. Not that it's a hotspot for world PvP these days or anything, it's just... weird.

The other night my pet tank and I had just finished a round of Ilum dailies on Imperial alts when he suddenly piped up with the suggestion to go and look at the PvP area. "I've never even been there," he said. I was a little incredulous, but then I didn't actually have much experience with the place either. There was this one time I went to have a look at it, but I couldn't really figure out what I was supposed to be doing there. All I remember was that I found something to click on and then got insta-killed for no reason that I could fathom.

"Sure, let's have a look."

I felt very exposed when we landed at the Imperial base on the Western Ice Shelf and my agent's arrival was announced as a zone-wide message in the middle of the screen. Not that there was anyone there to take note of it, apparently.

Just outside the base, my guildie found an interactive gun turret. "Look, I can shoot you! Not that it does anything to friendlies." Fifteen seconds later, he fell over dead. "You know, I think that's what killed me last time," I mused. "I'm still not sure why. Insta-killing people for using the gun turrets doesn't strike me as something that's working as intended."

According to the five quests to capture objectives which had automatically appeared in our log, the Empire already owned everything in the area. We did some driving around in an attempt to find something other than the gun turrets to interact with, but everything that looked like we should be able to click on it just told us off for even trying, since we already owned the place and were apparently supposed to be content.

As we crossed over into the southern half of the zone, we suddenly got a warning that a Jedi knight had been spotted nearby. O-ho, an enemy! A bit closer to the Republic base we actually ran into him, and he and my friend's level 48 bounty hunter were immediately at each other's throats. I decided to just hang back and cast some heals. The Jedi ignored me and apparently just wondered why that lowly level 48 Mercenary kept regenerating health so quickly. Eventually he died and we moved on. We also got a message that the Jedi had already been killed only recently and thus wasn't worth any valor.

Then we rounded a corner towards the entrance of the Republic base, and the freshly respawned Jedi was immediately on my guildie again. We went through the same scenario again, though we were rewarded with something like 200 valor this time. For killing a single guy! It seemed kind of silly.

Upon trying to actually enter the Republic base, we were instantly one-shot and decided that we were probably better off trying something else.

"You know what we should do now? Log on our Republic characters." "Ooh, I like that idea."


About ten minutes later, we were back on our mains, Commando and Vanguard. Since we were now on the side that didn't own the area, we could actually capture all the objectives. It felt kind of anti-climatic though, as everything just consisted of two ten-second casts which then declared the objective captured... and nothing else happened. No rewards, no fireworks, no big changes. There were no more Imperials in the area either. The only good thing about it was that we received a buff that would grant us bonus valor from warzones for an hour.

We did queue up for a couple of games to make use of the buff, while staying on Ilum the rest of the time to see if anything interesting was going to happen between our matches. It didn't. Eventually another guildie joined us, and it was rather amusing that he too was utterly confused by the place, considering that he's been playing for a long time and PvP is his big passion.

We sat down on some stairs together and looked out across the wide open plains where Republic and Imperial walkers were forever duking it out over a piece of terrain that nobody seemed to care about anymore. "What is this place? It looks like it could be fun." "Well, apparently it was... once upon a time. But it was also broken. So now we just have this."

13 comments:

  1. Kind of funny that you could have traded keep flipping wins with yourself.

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    1. Definitely! Also pointless though, as there's no reward other than the buff (which is only really relevant to whichever character you're playing at the time).

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  2. You know, the other day someone in Tatooine was mentioning that he goes over and pwns Imps over in Ilum. Makes me wonder whether Ilum isn't starting to heat up on certain servers.

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    1. I kind of doubt it; there's just no real incentive to go there. To be honest you're more likely to run into some world PvP action in the Black Hole or Section X, where things are busy and both factions are constantly crossing paths.

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    2. Didn't I read somewhere that they want to address PvP in Ilum for the expac?

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    3. Jeff Hickman mentioned it in State of the Game #2, but all he said was: "something big is coming to the Western Ice Shelf, but it’s quite a departure from what was there before. As for pure Open World PvP… well, that’s a more difficult proposition. We are dedicated to providing excellent PvP experiences to our players, but we intend to focus our energy on PvP Seasons and new Warzones."

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  3. There was a hint that comign soon woudl be a kick start for world pvp and ilum but not necessarily what we might expect!! So cryptic

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  4. Nice blog!

    Just like you before you went and wrote this post, I havent tried any PvP on Illum myself (I wasn't level capped at the time it still was hot) but this report sounds pretty alienating indeed. I'm still hoping to go there one day and see what it's like, but doesn't seem like doing that now is going to be of any use. I hope there is indeed going to be some sort of event on Ilum, then I'll surely give it a try.

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    1. Well, only a few days after I posted this they announced that the next patch will bring big changes to Ilum. We don't really know any details yet, but to me it sounds like they are turning the Western Ice Shelf into a sort of hybrid daily/PvP area.

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    2. It will be fun to see how that turns out! I'd heard the rumours, but didn't read anything about it myself. Thanks for the link.

      In the worst case, if Ilum varies in activity level, we can always do as you did and que for warzones while being on Ilum.

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    3. Excuse me for jumping in here, but is pvp all one does in this game? Is there a pve side? Please be kind, but I have no idea about this game, was just curious because I came here from MMO Melting Pot. Thanks in advance.

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    4. It's mostly a PvE game actually, it just has battlegrounds and PvP servers like WoW. :)

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  5. Real shame this game gets so much bad press, its really fun. Hell I have had more fun on SWTOR than I had playing WoW.

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